House Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, Build Back Better Act Delayed

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF) and the Build Back Better (BBB) Act are officially decoupled. Democrats spent last Friday engaged in intense negotiations to try to move both the BIF and the BBB bills forward. Things looked promising at the beginning of the day, but quickly unraveled. Democratic moderates had previously warned Congressional leadership that they would not vote on BBB without a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score to see exactly how much the bill would cost, and they did not back down.

Progressives still insisted that they were unwilling to vote on the BIF until the BBB was approved. It appeared that the dynamics that have been holding up votes for over a month still had not changed. At the end of the day, moderates drafted a letter to progressives pledging to vote on the BBB no later than November 15 and assured progressives that they would support the bill if the CBO score shows that there is no impact to the deficit. This de-escalated the situation. Here is where each bill currently stands:

Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF): The BIF (officially the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”) contains the “hard” infrastructure proposals in President Biden’s agenda. It does not include any funding for housing programs. While the Senate passed the BIF back in early August, the House finally passed it late last Friday, November 5. The House approved the BIF, sending it to President Biden for his signature. It passed the House with the support of most, but not all, progressives and 13 Republicans.

Build Back Better Act (BBB): The Build Back Better Act is a separate, $1.75 trillion bill that includes $150 billion for housing and community development programs. On Friday, the House approved a rule to bring the BBB to the floor for a vote. The rule passed along party lines with all Democrats voting in support. Congress is currently in recess and the BBB vote may happen the week of November 15. However, the CBO says it may be closer to Thanksgiving until they’re able to score the bill.

If the CBO score is consistent with the Democrats’ claim that the bill has no impact on the deficit, then the BBB Act should be able to pass the House along party lines. If it shows that it increases the deficit, there may be an issue. The text sent to CBO for scoring includes $154 billion in housing funding and a last-minute addition of housing tax credit provisions. The bill will not be changed while the CBO is analyzing it.

Although these two pieces of President Biden’s agenda have been intertwined over the past few months, they are now moving separately through Congress. The President is expected to sign the BIF into law this week. The pathway for the BBB Act is less clear as Congress waits on the CBO score.

To urge your legislators to pass the BBB Act with the $150 billion proposed for housing funds, visit NAHRO’s Action Alert Center.

HUD Publishes EHV Dashboard

HUD has published its Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) dashboard. The dashboard provides information about EHV leasing, issuances, unit utilization, voucher awards, and funding at both the national and the state level. The dashboard also provides information by individual PHA. Since PHAs have only started their EHV programs this summer, the program remains in its initial stages.

The EHV dashboard can be found here.

OSHA Releases Vaccine and Testing Mandate for Large Employers

On Nov. 4, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. It is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, Nov. 5, and will take effect immediately. Covered employers have 30-days (by approximately Dec. 5) to become compliant and implement a vaccine and mask mandate and unvaccinated employees must be in compliance with weekly testing requirements within 60-days (by approximately Jan. 4).

A pre-publication copy of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing can be found here. The majority of the ETS provides background, justification, description; and the last section lists the regulatory updates and additions. While the full document is 490 pages, the regulation itself is much shorter and can be found on page 473.

The purpose of the ETS is to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers from the risk of contracting COVID-19 by strongly encouraging vaccination. Covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or elect to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.

Unvaccinated employees would need to wear a mask indoors or in vehicles with employees at all times except when alone in a room with floor to ceiling walls or windows and a closed door. There is no mask requirement for vaccinated employees.

At this time the ETS only applies to employers of 100 or more employees, however OSHA is continuing to discuss whether or not this should apply to smaller employers.

NAHRO will continue to follow OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing, and will share additional information as it becomes available.

Voucher Investments in the Build Back Better Framework

The Build Back Better framework, which was released yesterday, included $24 billion in housing choice vouchers and $1 billion in project-based rental assistance. Here’s some additional information on what specifically is included in the Section 8 components of the framework.

Housing Choice Vouchers

New Vouchers – The latest Build Back Better framework includes $15 billion for new vouchers for extremely low-income families (30% of area median income). This amount includes costs for renewals and the costs of administrative fees. Administrative fees may be used for “other eligible expenses,” which may include the cost of facilitating the use of vouchers.

Vouchers for Households Experiencing Homelessness, Survivors of Domestic Violence, and Certain Other Survivors – The framework provides $7.1 billion for new vouchers for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and survivors of trafficking. The amount includes costs for renewals and the costs of administrative fees. Administrative fees may be used for “other eligible expenses,” which may include the cost of facilitating the use of vouchers.

Homelessness Waiver Authority – In administering vouchers targeted for homelessness, survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and survivors of trafficking, HUD may waive or specify alternative requirements for the following: preferences in the selection of families; documentation of citizenship, ineligibility for drug crimes, drug users, alcohol abusers, and other criminal offenders, and regulatory provisions related to verification of eligibility, eligibility requirements, and admissions process; lease lengths and regulatory provisions related to the initial lease term; residency requirements; and the regulatory provisions related to the establishment of payment standards.

Tenant Protection Vouchers – The framework provides $1 billion for tenant protection vouchers (TPVs) for relocation and replacement of public housing units that are demolished or disposed as part of a public housing repositioning transaction made available in this framework. The cost also includes renewals of these TPVs and administrative fees. Administrative fees may be used for “other eligible expenses,” which may include the cost of facilitating the use of vouchers.

Mobility-related Services – The framework allocates $300 million for competitive grants for PHAs for mobility-related services for voucher families, including families with children, and service coordination.

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Housing Investments Preserved in Bill Back Better

Congress is on the brink of passing historic housing legislation that currently includes $150 billion for housing programs. But negotiations are ongoing, and the housing funding could be at risk. NAHRO needs you to speak out immediately to support this historic legislation and to ensure that the housing provisions are preserved. 

We cannot miss this once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in housing infrastructure and address the affordable housing crisis. NAHRO must send a strong, unified message of support to Congress on the housing provisions in the Build Back Better Act. 

There are several ways to advocate NOW: 

The new framework was reduced from a total of $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion. Even though the topline was halved, public housing, vouchers, and community development are still in the bill. This is a direct result of your advocacy. Specifically, the framework currently contains $150 billion for housing, including: 

Public Housing Investments: $65 billion 

Housing Choice Vouchers: $24 billion

Project-Based Rental Assistance: $1 billion 

HOME Investment Partnerships Program: $10 billion 

Community Development Block Grant program: $3 billion 

National Housing Trust Fund: $15 billion 

Section 811: $450 million 

Section 202: $450 million  

We will not have this opportunity again. Speak up now to secure $150 billion for housing! 

Oct. 17th – Last Chance to Receive Issuance Reporting Fee for EHVs Issued on or before Oct. 3rd

Housing agencies with Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) that have issued vouchers before or on Oct. 3, have until Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021 to submit a form HUD-50058 (or form HUD-50058 MTW) to receive the $100 issuance reporting fee. To report in IMS/PIC, PHAs should do the following:

  • “PHAs should report in line 2n when submitting the HUD-50058 by entering ‘EHV.’
  • MTW PHAs that have received HUD approval to apply MTW flexibilities to EHV vouchers may report household participant data on the HUD-50058 MTW and must enter “EHV” on line 2p and leave line 2n blank.”

HUD has created an EHV report to identify IMS/PIC reporting discrepancies.

HUD Publishes New Guidance on Eviction Requirements for Public Housing and PBRA

On Oct. 7, 2021, HUD published a notice titled “Supplemental Guidance to the Interim Final Rule ‘Extension of Time and Required Disclosures for Notification of Nonpayment of Rent’” Notice PIH 2021-29. This notice serves as additional guidance to an interim final rule that was also published in October. The interim final rule specified that where there is federal funding available due to the declaration of a national emergency, PHAs with public housing and owners with project-based rental assistance (PBRA) must do the following at HUD’s discretion:

  • Provide at least 30 days from the date a tenant receives a notice of lease termination for failure to pay rent before terminating the tenant; and
  • Provide information (e.g., information about how to apply for and receive emergency federal funding) to the tenant as determined by HUD.

This PIH notice provides additional guidance to the requirements of the interim final rule. First, it clarifies the instances in which the rule is applicable. The rule applies to PHAs with a public housing program, including Moving to Work (MTW) agencies, and owners with PBRA. For the purposes of this notice, PBRA is defined as the following (i.e., this notice applies to the following programs):

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Chairwoman Waters Holds Press Conference on Housing Funds in Build Back Better Act

On Tuesday, October 12, Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) of the House Financial Services Committee held a press conference on housing funds in the Build Back Better Act. Several members of Congress and housing advocates joined her outside at the House Triangle. During her remarks, Rep. Waters stated:

“There were 13 kids in my family and I can’t even tell you what we went through to try to have decent housing… Housing is needed all over this country – in urban areas and in rural areas – and we intend to fight for it.”  

The representatives who spoke at the press event included Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA), Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). Each member expressed their support for the proposed housing funds. Rep. Johnson listed a few of the programs that the Build Back Better Act could fund, including:

  • $90 billion for rental assistance (HCV and PBRA)
  • $80 billion for public housing repairs
  • $40+ billion for CDBG and HOME

Congressional leadership is negotiating cuts to the original $3.5 trillion bill. One reporter who attended the conference asked Chairwoman Waters whether she would support cutting the duration of the proposed funds in order to keep them in the package. Waters responded, “I like the idea.” She closed the press conference by chanting “Housing is infrastructure!” with those in attendance. A recording of the event is available HERE on YouTube.

To voice your support for housing funds in the Build Back Better Act, send an advocacy letter from NAHRO’s Action Alert Center. Urge your legislators to keep the proposed housing and community development funds in the final bill.

HUD Creates New Eviction Requirements for Public Housing and PBRA

In a notice titled “Extension of Time and Required Disclosures for Notification of Nonpayment of Rent,” HUD updates its regulations–through an interim final rule–to give itself the authority to require that public housing and project-based rental assistance (PBRA) developments give tenants the opportunity to receive emergency rent relief before eviction. Specifically, when there is federal funding available due to the declaration of a national emergency, PHAs with public housing and owners with PBRA properties must do the following at HUD’s discretion:

  • Provide at least 30 days from the date a tenant receives a notice of lease termination for failure to pay rent before terminating the tenant; and
  • Provide information (e.g., information about how to apply for and receive emergency federal funding) to the tenant as determined by HUD.

HUD will publish another notice outlining the specific information that must be included in the lease termination notification. That notice will also provide the requirements for PHAs and owners to provide the information in an accessible manner for effective communication for people with disabilities and people with limited English proficiency (LEP).

These requirements apply to public housing and PBRA, which is defined in this rule to include Section 8, Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation, Section 202/162 Project Assistance Contract, Section 2020 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC), Section 811 PRAC, Section 236 Rental Housing Assistance Program and Rent Supplement. The rule does not apply to the Housing Choice Voucher program.

The interim final rule will become effective in 30 days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

Comments for the rule will be due within 30 days of publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

A pre-publication copy of the rule may be found here.

HUD Publishes 2022 OCAFs

In early Oct., HUD published the list of operating cost adjustment factors (OCAFs) for project-based assistance contracts under Section 8. These adjustment factors are used to adjust certain Section 8 rents. They were calculated in the same manner the 2021 OCAFs. They are calculated as “the sum of weighted component cost changes for wages, employee benefits, property taxes, insurance, supplies and equipment, fuel, oil, electricity, natural gas, and water/sewer/trash, using publicly available indices.” They are applicable beginning Feb. 11, 2022. These OCAFs are distinct from renewal funding inflation factors (RFIFs), which are usually applicable for the Housing Choice Voucher program.

The Federal Register notice announcing the OCAFs may be found here.